Tuesday News: Too many times


REV AL SHARPTON SPEAKS AT FUNERAL FOR ANDREW BROWN: Friends and family gathered Monday to lay to rest the body of Andrew Brown Jr., but civil rights leaders said the work must go on to get justice for the Black man fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies last month. Brown’s death has sparked controversy and loud but peaceful protests in this northeast North Carolina town. In his eulogy, the Rev. Al Sharpton told those gathered in Elizabeth City’s Fountain of Life Church not to confuse this celebration of Brown’s life with the determination to get justice in this “disgraceful and shameful” matter. “Too often we come to funerals of people that are unjustly brought to death and act like this is a natural occurrence,” Sharpton said. “We are going to celebrate him, but we are not going to excuse the fact that we shouldn’t have to be here to do this.”

NC REPUBLICANS PUSH "EUGENICS" ANTI-ABORTION BILL: Another effort by North Carolina Republicans to narrow the situations in which abortion is legal in the state is set to be debated in a legislative committee. The House Health Committee planned Tuesday to discuss and vote on a measure that would bar a physician from performing an abortion if the doctor knows the pregnant woman wanted the procedure due to the fetus’ race or the detection of the presence of Down syndrome. The physician could be subject to monetary damages if the procedure occurred anyway. Bill sponsors say procedures performed based on race or Down syndrome amount to “discriminatory eugenic abortion.” The legislature in 2013 passed a law prohibiting sex-selective abortions — those based upon whether the fetus is male or female. The abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice NC opposes the bill, calling it an effort to stigmatize abortion care that has nothing to do with ending discrimination.

NC DEQ DENIES PERMIT (AGAIN) FOR MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE EXTENSION IN NC: The Division of Water Resources has again denied a water-quality permit to the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate that would carry natural gas from Virginia to Graham after an appeals court ordered more consideration. “In the absence of the MVP Mainline pipeline’s completion in Virginia, the MVP Southgate project has no independent utility,” according to a recent letter from The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Resources. “In essence, it would be a pipeline from nowhere to nowhere incapable of carrying any natural gas, and certainly not able to fulfill its basic project purpose, while having no practical alternative.” The state first denied a denied MVP Southgate a 401 Water Quality Certification and Jordan Lake Buffer Authorization in August saying there was no good reason to let the company impact wetlands, streams and forests buffering the state’s waterways until the mainline in Virginia looked like it would ever be finished. MVP filed for a review by the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent the order back to DWR to explain why it denied the permit rather than grant it on the condition the mainline get federal approval.

NRA BANKRUPTCY EFFORT STYMIED BY REGULATORS OVER BONUSES AND PERKS TO LEADERS: A U.S. bankruptcy administrator asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss the National Rifle Association’s efforts to declare bankruptcy or appoint a trustee or examiner to oversee the gun rights organization — a setback for the group at the close of a federal court hearing to consider its petition. The recommendation bolstered the arguments of New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), whose office has fought the NRA’s attempts to relocate from New York to Texas, and came after senior NRA executives acknowledged in court testimony that they received lavish perks. Lisa Lambert, a lawyer with the U.S. trustee’s office — which participates in bankruptcy cases to protect taxpayer interests and enforce bankruptcy laws — told the court that the evidence presented in the hearing showed that the nonprofit organization lacked proper oversight and that personal expenses were masked as business costs. The NRA began considering bankruptcy last year after James filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the gun rights organization, alleging that senior NRA executives used the organization to benefit themselves and their friends. The NRA responded by accusing the attorney general of pursuing a political agenda. The group announced in January that it was declaring bankruptcy and moving from New York, where it was founded in 1871, to Texas, where the state attorney general and other officials offered a warm welcome.

AG MERRICK GARLAND WANTS MORE FUNDING TO FIGHT DOMESTIC TERRORISM: In his first congressional hearing since his confirmation, Mr. Garland will appear before the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department to discuss his $35.2 billion budget request for the fiscal year that begins in October, a 11 percent increase from the previous year. The budget request reflects a commitment to ensure “the civil rights and the civil liberties” of Americans, Mr. Garland is expected to say in his opening remarks. The request also shows that Mr. Garland will prioritize attempts to fight domestic terrorism and protect civil rights work over the efforts to fight street crime and gangs that marked the Trump-era Justice Department. The budget request includes an additional $101 million to address the rising threat of domestic terrorism, including $45 million for the F.B.I. and $40 million that federal prosecutors can use to manage their increasing domestic terrorism caseloads. The Justice Department also wants $1.2 billion — $304 million more than the previous year — to support community-oriented policing and programs that address systemic inequities in policing. It also requested an additional $232 million to combat gun violence, and will use it to fund federal law enforcement resources, grants for community violence intervention programs, improved background checks and more comprehensive red-flag laws.